Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Travel Chronicles

I was in the boat with other tourists. I was enjoying the view where boat was passing through a passage between two high lands. Suddenly my friend called, "Hey, come to the other side". The moment I reached other side of boat, I looked at the scene in front of me and I froze. All I could see was large blue sky, water falling from fifty feet height covering my eye site, making so much noise that I could not hear any other sound. Misty fog was created right in the middle of the fall as if there are clouds forming in front of my eyes. Water was so violent, I felt like I was in the middle of a storm.  I had never seen anything like that in my life and the whole experience gave me goose bumps.

That was my first experience visiting Nayagara falls.  I was never much of a traveler. All the travel I did was visiting relatives or traveling for study or job purposes. That moment at nayagara changed my perspective about travel. I made a decision, that I will visit as many places as I can. Since then I traveled to over 7-8 countries and visited many cities in India. Each time I travel, I learn something new. Something about place, people, culture, food habits, history, more importantly I learn something about myself.

One of the aspects I struggled with when I visited non-English non-native place is the language barrier. 
When I visited Taiwan, locals didn’t speak English and I didn’t speak Taiwanese. Basic necessities such as food, navigation became a problem. I struggled to find routes and destinations.  I still remember standing in front of a food stall and looking to eat food.  I was very hungry, but, I could not strike a conversation with shopkeeper to give me food. It was a humbling experience and  I felt like an illiterate trying to figure out basic things. However, I started enjoying the process in my subsequent travels.

Another aspect I look forward to in travel is the random encounters with people. Interaction with people from different backgrounds helps me understand different perspectives. Once I was in a flight from Delhi to Bangalore. It was a 3 hour flight. I started a random conversation with a person next to me. We spoke at length on various issues such as generation these days and current telecom and internet situation in India, what are the causes we are not growing as fast as we should, only to know in the end that this gentleman is a General manager in BSNL, overseeing broadband adoption across India. Another time, I helped a lone lady with her luggage during Mumbai-newyrk flight. We became friends quickly. She is a well known paediatrician in Newark city. She said, "whenever you come to this city, don’t forget you know someone here". Whenever I travel, I look forward to these random encounters and the experience it brings.

Most important thing about the travel is, I learn something about life. Once I was traveling back to my hometown. Last leg was a 4 hour bus journey to reach my village. I was all bogged down with my worries related to career, office problems, personal problems etc. There was a couple next to me. Husband, wife and 3 children are happy and they are having great time during the journey. It suddenly occurred to me that my life is good in terms of my job, family, friends, health etc. That moment, I learnt from that unknown family to enjoy every moment and life is not as bad as I often thought it is. I enjoyed my vacation forgetting whatever problems I thought I had and had good time at home.

Each one of the travels changed me as a person. Be it enjoying nature, struggling with basic necessities or having those random encounters. It teaches me how little I know about the world. It helped me connect with different people and get different perspectives, and most importantly it helps me find little more about myself. That feeling drives me to take up next travel where I can expect the unexpected.